"Whereas a lot of other ThinkPads resemble briefcases left over from the 1980s, the L420 has been modified to look a bit more like a modern laptop"
Substance over style has been the ThinkPad’s unwritten tagline for a while now, and the
Lenovo L420 is no exception. Sturdy and resilient, does it have enough internal power to win over laptop aesthetes
What we like best
Whereas a lot of other ThinkPads resemble briefcases left over from the 1980s, the L420 has been modified to look a bit more like a modern laptop.
It is still covered in a matte black plastic finish, but the edges have been softened, while Lenovo have retained the rock-solid feel that we have come to value so much in Lenovo’s ThinkPad range – there’s next to no yield at all on the lid and area around the trackpad.
For a business laptop, this kind of resilience is very important, and the metal display hinges are built in a similarly unyielding way.
The keyboard is spill-resistant, and the whole laptop was built to withstand extreme temperatures – average users might think these measures a bit excessive, but those who have to travel a lot for work reasons will know that carrying around a flimsy laptop is not only a hassle, but also a potentially catastrophic accident waiting to happen.
Further business features include a fingerprint scanner and a hard drive protection system.
The L420 can be equipped with a variety of Intel Core processors, the most powerful option being the i7-2620M. But even with an i5 processor, performance is impressively quick and fluid.
You can also configure your laptop with different RAM (up to 6Gb) and hard drive (up to 320HDD or 128 SSD) specs.
What we like least
The lack of any USB 3.0 ports is a bit disappointing, considering the fact that the L420 came out only last year.
For a laptop as strongly built as the L420, the quality of its speakers is disappointing: the sound they emit is flat, tinny and distinctively lacking in volume.
This will not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the ThinkPad range, but gaming is once again a big letdown – the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics card might be enough for streaming SD videos, but try playing World of Warcraft at a decent setting and you’ll soon lose all enjoyment of the game.
In terms of ruggedness, performance and security, the Lenovo ThinkPad L420 ticks all the right boxes – it is built to last and to be taken along on longer trips in potentially adverse weather conditions. The keyboard and screen work reliably well, and its only real weaknesses lie in things like audio and graphics, which are usually of more concern to gaming users. Those of you looking for a business laptop should definitely at least consider the L420.
Today's best deal
Intel core i3-2350M Processor
Intel HD Graphics 3000
Hard Drive Storage
HD 720p webcam
1 x Multimedia Card Reader
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Always-on USB 2.0
1 x eSATA
Express Card and Smart Card option
1 x Display port with audio
Weight & Size
(W) 343.9 mm x (H) 36 mm x (D) 232.9 mm
Genuine Windows 7 Professional
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
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